Men's Fashion Week takes over Toronto

Helmer, Curtis Oland, Hip and Bone and Pascal Labelle are just some of the designers that were featured at this season’s Toronto Men’s Fashion Week. It took place from Monday March 6 to Wednesday March 8 at 505 Richmond St. West and it was men’s fashion week’s sixth season.

The event was well publicized and thoughtfully planned with many coordinators, sponsors and volunteers. Kelsi Gayda is the executive assistant and social media coordinator for all that falls under the Canada fashion group umbrella – both men’s and women’s fashion weeks.

Men’s fashion week first started three years ago. Gayda moved to Toronto from Calgary in July and joined the Toronto Men’s Fashion week team after learning about it. “It was right up my alley,” she said.

Gayda has a background in fashion – back in Calgary, she would put on a bi-monthly event that supported local artists and designers of any medium where talented entrepreneurs and emerging artists could showcase themselves.

“It was also a good way to network with people,” she said.

Gayda said she has always been a big supporter of emerging artists and designers. “I’ve always been the one to push people to pursue,” she said. “I love the creative culture.”

According to Gayda, there are a great amount of outlets for people in Toronto.

“Toronto is like the New York of Canada,” she said. “I moved here because there is a bigger arts community and more people support that community. There’s a bigger market for growth and that market is more established.”

“I just want to support emerging designers, the fashion community and the arts community.”

Gayda gave a rundown of this season’s event and all the shows along with some of the highlights.

“There were so many amazing aspects to this season,” she said. “There were live DJs, the venue was rustic – and felt like Paris or Milan and the HP media lounge made for the perfect platform for the social media team to smoothly and efficiently upload photos.”

“This event really brings the community together.”

Those on the other side of this event and events like these share the same viewpoint as those behind the scenes.

Emily Verduyn is a Ryerson business student and a retired model. She used to be in many fashion shows including women’s fashion week.

“To be a part of someone’s fashion show where they get to showcase pieces they’ve been tirelessly working on for months is the coolest feeling,” she said.

For Verduyn, her favourite part is bringing to life what a designer pictured. “I love seeing them in awe that their creative idea became a reality.”

“Fashion and fashion week in Toronto has drastically changed in the past two years,” said Verduyn. “It has really evolved into a large and supportive community of local designers, models, hairstylists and makeup artists that all know and have strong relationships with each other.”

“When you walk around backstage or sit watching, you are constantly surrounded by true Torontonians and are always bound to find someone in the room you know,” she said.

“The sense of community is irreplaceable.”

Fashion, the arts as a whole and events like these help celebrate Toronto’s community and emerging Canadian artists.

How a Toronto girl boss is making minimalist jewelry more than a trend

As Instagram feeds turn to clean, minimal aesthetics, it’s only fair that fashion and beauty trends do the same. Allison Asis, the founder of Cadette Jewelry, knows this all too well. The Toronto jeweller created Cadette in 2014 hoping to get women who don’t wear jewelry, like herself, to find a love for delicate pieces.

“I think there’s so many girls who are either not jewelry wearers or simply want pieces that compliment their natural style and natural being,” she says.

Asis started out as a fashion blogger, but realized she wanted more satisfaction from her creativity; and so the minimalist beauty of Cadette was born, drawing inspiration from trends worldwide.

“There’s a very simple, clean aesthetic that’s happening right now and it’s drawing inspiration from Japanese and Scandinavian style,” says Asis.

“It’s just clean lines – a simple jacket and pair of jeans. Or a white t-shirt and a pair of jeans. It’s all about simplicity, and I think this is jewelry that compliments that.”

Drawing inspiration from designers like The Row, by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, and Acne Studios, the Toronto jeweler looks to keep her pieces minimal but with a twist.

“I have a love for a lot of artists and that quirky, whimsical shape,” she says. “I find myself creating simple jewelry, but always with a spin. So maybe something asymmetrical or with an added stone.”

Recently, Asis also became a metalsmith, learning to create her own pieces from brass and sterling silver. She chose these two metals because brass can be polished to have a similar look as gold. Sterling silver - a popular choice for jewelry that stands the test of time.

“Even when it ages it looks beautiful with more character,” says Asis.

Since 2014, Asis has been the leader for all of Cadette’s departments – from creative to financial. She considers herself a one-woman show.

“It’s taught me a lot and it just shows you what you’re capable of,” says Asis. “It forced me to learn different sectors of the business, but it’s the weaker parts that make you work harder and get better.”

She believes that minimalist jewelry is here to stay.

“There’s obviously girls who still gravitate more towards a loud statement piece,” she adds. “Statements had their moment. But now that minimalist jewelry has become popular, more girls are thinking that they can get down with it.”


This piece was edited by Krizia Ramos, Co-Fashion Editor at CanCulture.